|By Brian Gracely||
|March 11, 2013 10:00 AM EDT||
In my 20 years in the technology industry, I've found that there are three types of product/service strategy discussions that companies (vendors) have:
- "Our new product/tool will change the world." - Occasionally this happens, but more often that not it's just a feature that could be implemented on any existing platform.
- "Our new product delivers immediate value to customers and solves an existing (widespread) problem". Companies will typically pay money to solve problems, especially if it saves them money or unlocks a new market opportunity. Typically this creates a new market for the vendor. VMware ESX did this for many years. Consolidate servers, save money.
- "Our value is no longer distinct, so let's embed it into a suite/bundle with other things, and hopefully take a larger piece of the pie (customer's budget) that is currently allocated to somewhere else."
I've had the privilege to attend many VMware events in the past 4-5 years (PEX, VMworld, VMUG, etc.), and the theme of those events always seemed to fall into the #1 or #2 buckets. It's what created such a passionate following for the products and the company. It created a very unique, "wow, if I do this, then something better happens" moment for many companies.
But this year's event was different. It had a #3 feel to it. Many of the themes that had been critical to VMware (VDI, virtualizing Mission-Critical Applications, etc.) were now buried within "suites".
Overall, the value proposition to the customer was no longer obvious. Most notably by the VMware people that were presenting solutions like "vCloud Suite". The theme had shifted from "buy for value" to "buy for potential value, if we can unlock it".
Here's an example. I sat through a "How to sell vCloud Suite" presentation, given by the Director of Product Management for vCloud (apologies, I didn't catch the presenter's name). The audience was VMware partners, primarily their go-to-market partners (VARs/SIs). After introducing the pieces of the vCloud Suite, his pitch went something like this (paraphrased):
- Great job selling vSphere. 30-40% of most applications are virtualized. Sometimes more.
- We're not going to call it "Cloud" anymore. It's now called "Software-Defined Data Center" (SDDC). vCloud used to be the answer to "how to get to Cloud?". vCloud is now the answer to "how to get to SDDC?".
- Getting to high-levels of virtualization was a CAPEX story. Inefficient hardware. Save customers hard costs. Getting to SDDC is an OPEX story. Inefficient people and processes. Save customers unknown/soft costs.
- IT still isn't very efficient, mostly because storage and networking aren't virtualized and controlled (via VMware) like server virtualization. Get your customers to virtualize those things. (NOTE: How to do that is not covered in this presentation).
- Overall, IT still isn't operating very efficiently. Sell them vCOPs to figure out where there are more inefficiencies, like stranded VMs, poorly provisioned storage, poorly configured networks, etc.
The product manager then continued for another 30 minutes talking about how to sell the rest of the vCloud components, but he never did get around to a clear value proposition for the customer. There was some discussion about the need to run IT-as-a-Service, but in essence it boiled down to "it's a big problem, so here's a big software suite to sell them". A classic example of #3 strategy.
Another example of where VMware seemed to have disconnected value-proposition was the announcement of the VMware Cloud Credits program. It was touted as a great way to help customers budget for using public cloud services. On the surface, it appeared to potentially be helping the 200+ vCloud Service Providers, that Pat Gelsinger was quoted as saying, "What is really amazing -- we haven't done anything to earn that business". But when I dug deeper with their Product Management team, I uncovered some interesting details that weren't part of the announcement.
- Only available to existing vCloud-Powered SP. VMware decides who gets in the program; SP can't just opt-in.
- VMware choosing which vCloud-SPs are allowed to participate based on geography, verticals, unique offerings.
- The credits are sold independent of any vCloud SP. They basically operate like a gift-card.
- vCloud-SP gets no visibility into which customers have bought credits, or the Channel-Partners (VAR/SI) that sold credits. No opportunities to market their differentiation directly to end-customers via the program.
- vCloud-SP only gets visibility into end-customers once they are engaged directly with them, and then only Cloud credit-levels on that specific customer.
- Credits expire in 12 months. End-customers can extend credit lifecycle if already engaged with a specific SP.
- Unused credits can not be sold to other customers. Treated as a "license-agreement". No resale market will exist.
- Unused credits can not be returned to Partner or VMware for credit/money.
- vCloud-SP only gets revenue if credits are used.
- vCloud-SP must translate their existing services/service-level pricing into Cloud Credits (VMware creating some application-centric calculators).
So it's a potential revenue source for both the Channel partner and VMware, but the vCloud SPs are indirectly left out of the supply-demand loop. I can understand that VMware doesn't want their end-customers to get bombarded with marketing from the vCloud SPs because of this program, but that is already happening today. This seems somewhat unusual if the program is actually attempting to drive demand for those vCloud-based SPs.
Those are just a couple of example of the changes that I experienced at VMware Partner Exchange (PEX) this year. None of them are an indictment of VMware failings, but they do appear to be a strong indication that VMware's strategies are moving more and more towards #3. Given the size of their ecosystem and installed base, it will be interesting to see how they adapt to these shifts.
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
Dec. 21, 2014 02:00 PM EST Reads: 2,352
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 21, 2014 01:00 PM EST Reads: 1,983
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
Dec. 21, 2014 11:30 AM EST Reads: 2,415
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
Dec. 21, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 2,150
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
Dec. 21, 2014 08:30 AM EST Reads: 2,273
ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...
Dec. 21, 2014 06:15 AM EST Reads: 2,115
The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.
Dec. 20, 2014 11:00 PM EST Reads: 1,352
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 20, 2014 08:00 AM EST Reads: 1,359
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
Dec. 18, 2014 09:45 PM EST Reads: 1,227
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 18, 2014 09:00 AM EST Reads: 1,373
Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, at more than US$500 billion, and ranks 23rd in the world. A recent re-evaluation of Nigeria's true economic size doubled the previous estimate, and brought it well ahead of South Africa, which is a member (unlike Nigeria) of the G20 club for political as well as economic reasons. Nigeria's economy can be said to be quite diverse from one point of view, but heavily dependent on oil and gas at the same time. Oil and natural gas account for about 15% of Nigera's overall economy, but traditionally represent more than 90% of the country's exports and as...
Dec. 18, 2014 06:00 AM EST Reads: 914
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
Dec. 17, 2014 11:15 PM EST Reads: 1,411
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 17, 2014 11:00 PM EST Reads: 1,456
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 17, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,451
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
Dec. 17, 2014 06:30 PM EST Reads: 1,384
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
Dec. 17, 2014 11:45 AM EST Reads: 1,558
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Dec. 16, 2014 11:45 PM EST Reads: 1,401
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
Dec. 15, 2014 11:45 PM EST Reads: 1,748
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Dec. 15, 2014 10:30 AM EST Reads: 6,920
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...
Dec. 15, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,990